Using advanced machine learning, a cross disciplinary team of University of California San Diego researchers developed technology that mined Twitter to identify entities illegally selling prescription opioids online.
Between June and November 2015, some 619,937 tweets containing the keywords codeine, Percocet, fentanyl, Vicodin, Oxycontin, oxycodone and hydrocodone were collected. The findings, published online in the American Journal of Public Health in October, detected 1,778 posts that were marketing the sale of controlled substances, 90 percent included hyperlinks to online sites for purchase.
“An unhealthy use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs continues to rise in the United States. Public policy and law enforcement efforts are trying to address this crisis, but closer attention to the potential negative influence of digital technologies is needed,” said Tim K. Mackey, PhD, UC San Diego School of Medicine associate professor of anesthesiology and global public health and first author. “Our study demonstrates the utility of a technology to aid in these efforts that searches social media for behavior that poses a public threat, such as the illegal sale of controlled substances.”
Mackey and researchers with UC San Diego School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering used a three-step process that involved cloud-based computing to collect large volumes of tweets filtered by keywords, machine learning to isolate tweets related to the marketing of opioids, and web forensic examination to analyze posts that included hyperlinks to external websites.
During the five-month study period, less than 1 percent of tweets mentioning opioids were marketing prescription opioids, and only 46 of the hyperlinks included in those tweets were still live when the team analyzed the data eight months later. However, if the technology were used for active surveillance the data could be used to find more live links and could also be used for surveillance and detection of other health-related illegal online activities, said Mackey.
The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act prohibits the sale and marketing of controlled substances directly to consumers online. It was passed in 2008 after 18-year-old Ryan Haight of San Diego died after purchasing Vicodin online.
“This technology could help improve enforcement of the Ryan Haight Act,” said Mackey. “In addition, social media providers can use it to find or prohibit content that is illegal or violates laws to ensure consumers have a safer experience online.”
Forensics researchers connected marketing on Twitter to blogs, other social media platforms, user forms, online classified ads and websites. The majority of sites had foreign addresses, with many linked to Pakistan — a country recently identified as a source and exporter of fake, counterfeit and falsified medications, said Mackey.
“The online sale of controlled substances is directly prohibited by federal law. However, social media appears to act as a conduit for increased risk to substance abuse behavior,” said Mackey.
An interactive map of study findings is available here: www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=13qnaNCAKlVJVOezTUObv3Szto1Q&ll=12.624085123383825%2C0&z=3
The Latest on: Advanced machine learning
[google_news title=”” keyword=”advanced machine learning” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
- Machine Learning Career Path: Exploring Opportunities in 2022 and Beyondon November 18, 2022 at 6:59 am
In this special guest feature, George Tsagas, Owner of eMathZone, discusses how machine learning professionals can work as data scientists, computer engineers, robotics engineers, or managers. But if ...
- Machine Learning Enables Inclusive Access To Financial Serviceson November 18, 2022 at 5:00 am
Technology in financial services can be somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one side, new technological innovations, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), are striving to make ...
- The intersection of machine learning and medicine: New study from UW Medicine uncovers top predictors of right-heart failure after LVAD implantationon November 17, 2022 at 11:00 pm
If you’re a “Grey’s Anatomy” fan, chances are the word “LVAD wire” probably means something to you. Unlike the show, left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) possess capabilities far beyond the ...
- LUMIQ wins AWS Specialty Partner of the Year 2022 - for Data, Analytics, & Machine Learning - second year in a rowon November 16, 2022 at 11:32 pm
Bengaluru Karnataka [India] November 17 ANIPRNewswire India leading Data Analytics company bagged the AWS Specialty Partner of the Year 2022 Award for Data Analytics and Machine Learning at the recent ...
- Feeding the world by AI, machine learning and the cloudon November 16, 2022 at 7:34 am
With increasing global population and climate change, regenerative agriculture looks to grow more food with less environmental impact.
- Global models and predictions of plant diversity based on advanced machine learning techniqueson November 16, 2022 at 6:28 am
Modern machine learning techniques and newly compiled plant distribution data were used to design the models. The resulting global maps of plant diversity provide a solid foundation for large-scale ...
- TigerGraph brings machine learning and analytics features to the cloudon November 15, 2022 at 12:59 pm
TigerGraph rolled out several new features so cloud users can deliver more analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) power without leaving the confines of its database.
- TigerGraph Cloud gets interactive insights and advanced machine learning development toolson November 15, 2022 at 10:31 am
TigerGraph is the developer of an industry-leading graph database that’s designed to perform certain tasks more efficiently than relational and NoSQL database systems can do. For example, there are ...
- Introduction To Machine Learning For Marketingon November 7, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Stitch Fix: Machine learning is embraced at Stitch Fix. In fact, they have one of the most advanced algorithm repositories in the retail and e-commerce industry. They use data science to ...
via Google News and Bing News